Ask Natalie by Natalie Bencivenga

Strike Out Bad Behavior at Ballgames

DEAR NATALIE: I enjoyed your etiquette column on how to behave at the theater. Please follow up your etiquette at public events with a Pirates home game guide to behaving like decent humans in public and not drunken fools! Thanks! -- LETSGOBUCS 

DEAR NEEDS TO KNOW: It's as though you can read my mind! I was at the recent opener, and while it was a great time, I was verbally harassed while trying to enter the ballgame, and one guy even tried to grope me. I've also been to games where I was followed to my car by drunken guys who were tailgating and was "cat-called." It doesn't exactly make me want to go out to the ballgame. So here are a few tips for how to handle your beer, your hands and yourself in public. 1. Drink beer in between bottles of water. This way you won't be slurring your words by 11 a.m. 2. Your hands belong either alongside your body, inside a foam finger or in your pockets. They do not belong on any part of me or anyone else walking by. Ever. 3. Getting inside someone's personal space can be scary, especially when you are drunk and spitting on the person you are feebly attempting to flirt with. No one is interested in what you have to say at that moment. Stop it. 4. Screaming and making animal noises as women pass by is gross and demoralizing. Stop it. 5. I saw a fight break out before the game even began. There are children and families attending, and we all need to respect each other. Whatever he said to you that caused your chest to puff up, take a deep breath, count to 10, drink some water and let ... it ... go. 6. Do not follow anyone in the parking lot as she tries to leave. This is scary stuff, and it is not OK. I don't think men realize how awful it can be for a woman to walk to her vehicle as drunk guys make really vulgar comments. Follow these simple (and incredibly easy instructions), and we will all have a great time at the ball game! 

DEAR NATALIE: There is a woman my sister went to high school with named Lucy (not her real name). She's about four years younger than I am (I'm in my late 40s). I believe Lucy is divorced. She has two children. Her one child is on the autism spectrum. Lucy and I have been talking for several years, off and on, via Facebook mostly. We get very personal. She likes that I'm a sweet, gentle guy. Maybe it's because her ex is an abusive jerk? I go on and off Facebook, but whenever I get on with a new account, we chat for a few weeks, but then she blocks me. Then I get back on with a new account, and we talk again, as if nothing happened. She's said she loves me numerous times. I truly could love this woman. But I don't know why she runs and abandons me. The last time she blocked me, she texted me to say that she is miserable in life and that I deserve better. She suffers from depression. We have yet to actually meet and have a real date. I don't understand why not. I have asked her several times in text if she has a man in her life, but she never replies. My sister says just forget her. But I think she's beautiful. What should I do? -- NICE (BUT ALONE) GUY 

DEAR NICE (BUT ALONE) GUY: Sounds to me like the classic "chase me but don't catch me" scenario. This woman is in need of some male attention but from a distance. Perhaps it is because taking care of a child with special needs is exhausting and leaves very little time for romance. Perhaps she is still reeling from her abusive past and is afraid that (even though you seem nice) you may turn on her. Or perhaps she has no interest in ever pursuing you for real -- she just likes the chase. Whatever the reason, I don't like that she is leading you on by telling you that she loves you. I don't like it when people throw that word around. To me, love is an action word. Talk is cheap, after all, so show your love ... don't just say the words. This reminds me a lot of that MTV show "Catfish," where people fall in love online with people who turn out to be frauds. Don't waste anymore time on her. Make room for real love by letting go of what isn't. 

Natalie's Networking Tip of the Week: Show up a tad early to networking events. It won't be as crowded (which calms the nerves), and you can actually chat with people before everyone forms little groups and it becomes more challenging to get to know one another. Plus, you can hear better, too!

Please send your relationship and lifestyle questions to or tweet them to @NBSeen. You can also send postal letters to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)